Recently, blogger Xulon, from Theologica posted this excellent series focusing on ethics, Law, and the question of the Sabbath. He gave me permission to share them here on the Bible Archive. This is the series page:
Therefore do not let anyone judge you with respect to food or drink, or in the matter of a feast, new moon, or Sabbath days —these are only the shadow of the things to come, but the reality is Christ! (Colossians 2:16-17)
These verses contain one of two uses of the word Sabbath in the New Testament Epistles. The other is Hebrews 4:9 which says there is a Sabbath rest for the people of God (Besides this, the word is used 9 times in Acts and 49 times in the Gospels). Combined, these two verses teach us that the Sabbath Rest provided for the believer is the Gospel of Christ (or, if you wish, Christ himself). But they also teach that the keeping of the Sabbath was a shadow, now fulfilled.
In my previous blog, I showed that the Bible reveals that the Law of Moses has been done away. A common criticism of this is that if you eliminate the Law of Moses, you have eliminated objective morality (For the topic of the need for “objective” morality, I also recommend this blog on Christian Ethics). This is often coupled with the charge of antinomianism (anti=against+nomos=law). This “weakness” is often remedied by dividing the Law into sections; the Ceremonies, which are fulfilled in Christ and not for the believer and the moral code to which, though Christ did keep them perfectly, the believer is still obligated. Key in this regard are the Ten Commandments. “Certainly”, they object, “you are not saying that the Ten Commandments are done away with? Are you saying that God now allows people to commit Adultery?” As mentioned in the previous post, the Law is a unified whole and cannot be divided like this but another part of the answer is found in 2 Corinthians: But if the ministry that produced death — carved in letters on stone tablets (2 Corinthians 3:7). What is to be noticed here is that the only part of the Law of Moses which was engraved on stone tablets was the Ten Commandments. This whole section which declares the Law of Moses to have been replaced by the Ministry of the Spirit has here a direct reference to the Ten Commandments.
The teaching of this blog was summed up by Dr Lightner: “The Law of Moses in its entirety has been done away with as a rule of life” (Robert Lightner, “Theological Perspectives on Theonomy”, Bibleotheca Sacra 143, P235) Further, being done away with, the Law of Moses is not a path to higher sanctification so that keeping any part of the Law makes you more spiritual, nor does it mean you are more closely imitating Jesus who lived his life “under the Law”. Done away means it is no longer God’s will for the believer. Choosing to do what God does not require does not mean that one is “really going all out for God”. Indeed, it could indicate that one is ignoring what God says and substituting the wisdom of men. This does not mean that one is forbidden to follow any part of the Law as a personal or cultural preference but it would be a preference (Covered by Romans 14) and not requirement. The Scriptures supporting this are:
Introduction: A while back, there was a report on the Prime Time America radio broadcast about pastors leaving the ministry. They reported that ministers are leaving the ministry at a rate of 1800 a month. They mentioned ways to reverse that and seemed generally good. One thing caught my attention. At one point, the announcer said that if you attended a pastors conference, the people there would not be the most physically fit you have ever seen. He then said that God commands us to take care of our bodies and “pastors really need to consider their disobedience to God in this matter.”
Though I am neither a pastor nor out of shape, when I heard that pastors “need to consider their disobedience to God” I thought, “Oh great, another way I am disappointing God. Just put that on that big pile over there.” There are those listening to that program who may take that kind of appeal seriously but my guess is that the majority of burned-out pastors already feel overwhelmed by their own list of how they are “failing” God. On the other hand, the speaker clearly thought this was a good thing to say and, as I said, there probably were some listeners who thought this was a good point. What this illustrates, if we can step back from the specific example of physical fitness, is there are different ways to appeal to action. Likewise, there are different ways that people respond to appeals.